Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Finish Line

My calf cramped up during the last mile of a half-marathon. But I could see the finish line. The neon arch peeked over the trees several blocks away.  Celebration tunes drifted faintly toward me.  I knew my family was waiting with hugs and high-fives.

There was absolutely no way I was going to stop. I employed an awkward stride to stretch out my calf with every step. After coming this far, I refused to limp across the finish line. My best friend and running buddy even slowed her pace to stay with me and my modified gait.

Then we turned the last corner and caught view of the finish line. So what did I do? I stopped and walked off the path. NO, OF COURSE I DIDN'T.

I sped up.

Anyone who's ever been a runner knows that when you see that tape, that line, that balloon arch ahead of you, you kick into a different gear. No matter how leaden your legs felt a moment ago, you suddenly discover a reserve of energy that propels you to the end. A determination sets in. You don't coast across the finish line, you push with everything you've got, so that nothing is left on the course.

Our lives are a race. Or a series of races. Some days feel faster than others. Some paths are more painful; against the wind and up a hill. Others are easy breezy on level ground with a gentle wind behind you.

Yet in life, we often finish in a completely different way than a running race. We take our foot of the gas. We piddle around the course as if the race is already over.  But until we cross that tape, the clock is still running.

Are you nearing the end of some race? Your job? A class? Your career? A project? Life?

Therefore, surrounded as we are by such a vast cloud of witnesses, let us fling aside every encumbrance and the sin that so readily entangles our feet. And let us run with patient endurance the race that lies before us... Hebrews 12:1 Weymouth New Testament

As you see that finish line ahead, don't coast. Don't leave anything on the course. Give it everything you've got.

Most people won't remember what happened at mile four or eight or eleven. Unless they were running the race with you, they didn't see it. But people will remember how you finished. Well spent. Exhausted and maybe hurting, but determined.

No matter what you are finishing in this season of life, give it everything you've got. Finish well with patient endurance.